How do I change the pile height on my AK-I Cut-Pile Tufting Machine?

Updated 7 months ago by Tim Eads

AK-I Cut-Pile Tufting Machine

To adjust the pile height on your cut-pile machine, you’ll need: 

  • An adjustable wrench
  • The Allen wrenches that came with your machine
  • A ruler or calipers 

The primary indicator of the length of the pile height is the part of your machine called the upper machine bar. Shortening the length of the upper machine bar will cause your machine to tuft a longer pile. Extending the length of the upper machine bar will cause your machine to tuft a shorter pile. 

The general pile range for the AK-I is: 

  • Tallest pile* =  Upper machine bar measures 55 mm (2 ⅛ in) 
  • Shortest pile = Upper machine bar measures 60 mm (approx. 2 ⅜ in) 

*This is also the FACTORY SETTING. We do not recommend shortening the upper machine bar beyond the factory setting, as it risks damaging the machine. 

Depending on the degree of the adjustment, you may also need to recalibrate the positions of several other parts of your machine, including the foot height (adjustable by the foot height adjustment screw) and the scissor closing part. 

Check out this helpful video, or follow the step-by-step instructions below. Incorrect adjustments can damage your machine. 

Before you get started: Manually rotate the large white gear several times to ensure that the scissors open and close smoothly, and check to make sure that the lower machine bar is firmly attached to the center most part of the white gear. Note that the lower machine bar will not change during adjustments. (Video: 0 - 5:00 minutes) 

Step 1: Loosen the nuts on either end of the upper machine bar with a wrench. Once the nuts are loose, loosen the bolt that attaches the upper machine bar to the body of the machine near the yarn guide hole until the bar swings freely. Now, twist the metal bearing at the end of the bar until the upper machine bar reaches the desired length. (Video: 5:00 - 7:45 mins.) 

Step 2: Once the upper machine bar reaches the length you want, use the wrench to tighten the bolts back in place. Test your machine by manually rotating the white gear. Check that nothing is loose. (Video: 7:45 - 8:50 mins.) 

Step 3: Use an Allen wrench to loosen the foot height adjustment screw, located on the underside of the foot. Adjust the foot by sliding it along the channel until it’s roughly lined up with the back edge of the needle hole. Before you tighten the foot back in place, make sure the needle is centered inside the foot. (Video: 8:45 - 10:35 mins.) 

Step 4: Again, manually rotate the gear to ensure that the scissors open and close smoothly. If the scissors aren’t fully closing, you’ll need to make one more adjustment. Use an Allen wrench to loosen the bolt that holds the scissor closing piece in place (on the back of the machine). The scissor closing piece controls a tiny metal bar that allows the scissors to open and close. Use your wrench to make micro-adjustments to this bar, testing to see if the scissors close between each adjustment. When the bar is positioned so that the scissors close fully and smoothly, tighten the screw. (Video: 10:35 - 12:45 mins.) 

Finally, check the gear again for several smooth rotations (and no loose screws!) before you plug your machine in! 

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